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Res Publica

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Issue 4, 1979 Expand all abstracts
Article

Autorité politique et informatique du secteur public

De l'outil de gestion aux glissements de pouvoir

Authors Robert Dethier
Abstract

    The analysis deals with the power shifts (caused by the introduction of data-collecting and processing techniques) that can be observed in various relationships: between data-specialists and other civil servants; between different departments within the same Ministry; between different Ministries; between centra! and local administrations; between legislative and executive bodies; between politicians and civil servants. The theoretical bases for the analysis are drawn from the sociology of organizations. The observation itself draws upon the Belgian administration. It leads to more general questions of political science concerning the evolution of some power relationships. What do slogans like «data power» or «computer revolution» mean in real life? The facts are sometimes surprising, and practice at a great distance from theory.


Robert Dethier

    During the last two years Belgian television has broadcast five parliamentary debates in full and live. They were either the first appearance of a new government or important government declarations. These broadcasts were encouraged by the president of the Lower House, who hoped to familiarize a large part of the electorate with the work of its members. Audience research has shown however that interest is low and is decreasing. On the other hand, cameras have definitely influenced members' conduct: they attuned their appearances to the television audience, in tone, in wording and in argumentation. Sessions were also drastically prolonged. Conclusion: neither the broadcasting authority nor parliament have any interest in the live and full broadcasting of parliamentary debates. It is much to be preferred to limit them to a summary, put in an appropriate context in a special program.


Jan Ceuleers
Article

La Nonciature Micara

Authors Wladimir S. Plavsic
Abstract

    Cardinal Clemente Micara (1879-1965) has been papal nuncio in Belgium from 1923 until 1946. The aim of this article is to show the influence of this prelate on the Belgian political life. This research is essentially based on the correspondance that nuncio Micara exchanged with the late cardinal Van Roey, primate of Belgium. The Holy See ignored the «Flemish question» and Msgr. Micara confirmed his superiors in this position.


Wladimir S. Plavsic
Article

Un paradoxe historique

la social-démocratie allemande inspiratrice du bolchevisme

Authors Georges Goriely

Georges Goriely
Article

Luxembourg

A case study of legislation in a mini-state

Authors Martin A. Wing
Abstract

    Whilst Luxembourg may be classified as a mini-state, its small size and population have not removed «politics» from public administration. Having outlined the legislative system, this article examines in detail the passage of the legislation for direct elections to the European Parliament focusing on the roles and functions of the relevant actors and institutions. This case study approach reveals a smooth parliamentary stage for legislation concealing a set of devices for resolving contentious or troublesome issues: special ad hoc committees to advise on legislative drafts; parliamentary committees; splitting legislation so that legislators are formally committed to a principle before they have seen the details; the use of delaying tactics to preclude discussion of alternatives. In addition to demonstrating these, the case also examines the effectiveness of the three main institutions, the Council of State, the Chamber of Deputies and the Government, particularly the predominance ofthe latter, on major issues. In contradistinction, however, the Council of State, despite its formally weak status, is shown to exercise a positive influence.


Martin A. Wing
Article

Le gel de l'accord d'Athènes

La Communauté et la Grèce

Authors Spyros Haritos
Abstract

    The article analyses the problems raised by the decision of the European Community to «freeze» its relations with Greece following the military takeover on 21 April 1967. The author first outlines the main features of the development of the attitude adopted by Community institutions during the military dictatorship, then attempts to define the economic and political impact of the Community position. He goes on to examine whether the «day-to-day management» of the Agreement influenced the speeding-up of the new Greek government. We know that the Treaty of Accession was signed on 28 May 1979 in Athens. According to the author, the role played by the Community in the seven yearsof the «freeze» (21 April 1967 to 24 July 1974) was an important factor in speeding up Greece's request for accession.


Spyros Haritos